Evacuation flight from Dubai lands at Mangaluru

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MANGALURU: An Air India Express evacuation flight from Dubai landed safely in this port city with 178 returnees, an official said on Monday. “The IX 0814 Boeing 737-8HG from Dubai landed at the Bajpe airport at 7:38 p.m., with 178 passengers, including 99 men, 67 women, 11 children and an infant,” an Air India Express official told IANS.

Mangaluru is about 360 km southwest of Bengaluru. The flight was over an hour behind schedule due to a snag in the aircraft, which took as much time to be rectified for clearance to take-off.

“Though only asymptomatic passengers were flown in, they were screened and tested on landing and have been quarantined for 14 days before going home as per the mandatory guidelines of the Union Health Ministry to ensure that the virus is contained,” added the official.

The Dakshina Kannada district administration officials and the AI subsidiary staff received the returnees after they entered the arrival lounge. “All the passengers were given santiser to wash their hands and were told to wear masks and maintain physical distancing as per the protocols,” said the official.

As per the standard operating procedure to be observed by all foreign returnees, the passengers were screened and tested to ensure they were asymptomatic and free from the Covid-19 virus. After completing the formalities, including immigration check and filling the self-declaration forms, the returnees were taken in state-run buses in batches for 14-day institutional quarantine in hotels and other places in the city.

Passengers were told to download the mandatory quarantine apps, the Aroygya Sethu and Apthamitra, before leaving the airport for contact tracing later. The state government has booked star hotels, resorts, guest houses and hostels across the city to quarantine the overseas returnees for 14 days.

The service was the first in the state in the second phase of Vande Bharat Mission to bring back stranded Indians from overseas locations. The remaining 17 flights will land in Bengaluru over the next 16 days till June 3 from 14 destinations across the world.

In the first phase of the mission from May 7-17, Air India and Air India Express flew six flights to Karnataka, bringing in 800 passengers, including 623 to Bengaluru and 177 to Mangaluru from London, Singapore, San Francisco and Dubai.